Sunday, July 22, 2012

#706. Bound (1996)

Directed By: Andy and Lana Wachowski

Starring: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano

Tag line: "Violet and Corky are making laundry day a very big deal"

Trivia: Marcia Gay Harden auditioned for one of the lead roles

The directorial debut of Andy and Larry (now Lana) Wachowski, Bound exposed an unsuspecting public to the sibling's unique style of film making, one they would perfect three years later in their follow-up movie, The Matrix.

Ex-con Corky (Gina Gershon) is hired to renovate a vacant apartment, which is situated right next door to one owned by a mobster named Caesar (Joe Pantoliano) and his sultry girlfriend, Violet (Jennifer Tilly). When they first meet, Violet flirts openly with Corky, and before long, the two women are embroiled in a passionate affair. Violet tells Corky about an incident she recently witnessed, where Shelly (Barry Kivel), the money man for the “family” Caesar belongs to, was brutally tortured. Left shaken by the ordeal, Violet confesses she wants out of the mob life for good. Of course, to get out, she’ll need plenty of cash, so they devise a plan to steal $2 million dollars, which head mobster Gino Marzzone (Richard C. Sarafian) recently turned over to Caesar for safe keeping. The heist goes off without a hitch, but when an enraged Caesar discovers the money is missing, a chain of events transpires that may just spell the end for all of them.

All three leads turn in impressive performances, but it’s Joe Pantoliano who truly stands out. His Caesar is a man who's usually in control, of both himself and any situation, and the moment he loses that control, bad things begin to happen. Yet the real star of Bound is its style. The Wachowskis pull a lot of tricks out of their bag for this film, like the scene where Gino comes to collect the money he gave Caesar (which Caesar no longer has). Things heat up when Caesar confronts Gino’s son, Johnnie (Christopher Meloni). Johnnie's never liked Caesar, and Caesar is now convinced it was Johnnie who stole the money, simply to make him look ridiculous. Tempers flare, then escalate to the point that Caesar pulls a gun. The moment he does so, the remainder of the scene plays out from Caesar’s emotional point of view. He goes into a state of shock, as if he can’t believe what’s happening, and through the Wachowskis' employment of high-angles, slow motion, and a dull, muffled soundtrack, we experience it just as Caesar does. When the smoke clears, and everything returns to normal, we, like him, are left to deal with a very messy situation. 

After Bound, the Wachowskis would tackle a much more ambitious project, the sci-fi/action thriller, The Matrix, easily one of the most excitingly original films to emerge from the late 90’s. Filled with all sorts of special effects bells and whistles, The Matrix shows the siblings at the height of their creativity, and Bound was the millstone on which those skills were sharpened.


Tommy Ross said...

excellent movie and one that flies below most people's radar screen, highly recommend!

Unknown said...

Anyone who says the Wachowskis don't have at least a small chance of producing genius once again probably hasn't seen Bound. I know they've got it in them!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to you, will watch it first thing when possible after Tuesday.